Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fast and Spicy. The Cauliflower Your Mom Warned You About.

   Actually not really. This cauliflower dish is simply easy, tasty, quick to fix and perfect for any weekday meal... even if every time I fix it my husband says the house smells like the Lower East Side circa 1920. But I don't care, cauliflower is good, inexpensive and one of the most versatile vegetables out there. It's also pretty and the spring-like colors of this cruciferous wonder out there right now remind me of a basket of parti-colored Easter Eggs.

   Cauliflower comes in a variety of colors, purple, pinks, greens, yellows and plain old white, so when I was at the market I was drawn to all the pretty colors and decided I needed more Gobi in my life. Also, they were on sale... just sayin' . So, I chose a brilliant deep golden one and took it home.
  I wanted a simple way to cook this cauliflower, something that wouldn't take all day as we're in the midst of a script and I couldn't spend hours in the kitchen, so I turned to a basic Gujarati sabzi, a simple dry curry vegetable dish, and to speed things up, I roasted the cauliflower before cooking. This allowed me extra work time as I could pop it into the oven on a baking sheet get some work done while it roasted, and then do the final assembly quickly. I highly recommend roasting as it really brings out a lot of flavor, and as I said, keeps things moving. Also I'm not nuts about filling the house with the aroma of boiling cauliflower.

Simple Gobi Sabzi

Here's What You Need:

For The Cauliflower : 
1 medium cauliflower broken into florets
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 Tbs vegetable oil, I use coconut oil
2 serrano chilies slit
1 peeled and crushed shallot
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 dried red chili
1 finely chopped onion
1 fresh tomato peeled and chopped or diced chopped canned tomatoes
1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

For the Spice Paste:
1/2  cup of water
1 tsp kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 Tbs yogurt

Here's What To Do: 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into florets.

Place them into a bowl and drizzle them with 1 Tbs of coconut oil and 1/8 tsp turmeric.

Mix everything around well so the cauliflower is coated.
Place it on a baking sheet and pop it into the 400 degree oven to roast for about 20 minutes.

Check in and stir it around. When it starts to get slightly crispy-looking, it's done.

Take it out and set it aside.
Mix together the ingredients for the Spice Paste.
Whip the yogurt.

Mix it with the water.

Add in the Kashmiri chili, garam masala, turmeric, and coriander powder.

Mix it together well.
Slit the serrano chilies.

Crush the shallot and chop the ginger.

In a skillet or kadhai heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot toss in the 2 slit serrano chilies. Let them sizzle for about 10 seconds then take them out and set them aside.

Now add in the cumin seeds.

When the seeds start to crackle  add in the ginger, shallot, dried red chili and saute everything for about 2 minutes.

Now add the chopped onion...

...and diced tomato.

Let them saute for about 2 minutes then pour in your spice paste.

Mix it in well and cook it until it starts to thicken and the oil seperates.

Now add in the previously roasted cauliflower.

Cook it until the cauliflower is warm again and cooked through.

Check it for seasoning and serve it up.
Garnish it with the serrano chilies and sprinkle it with the chopped fresh cilantro.

Just don't eat the serranos. We took our lunch out into the garden.

cauliflower, cauliflower sabzi, Indian food
   The cauliflower in this dish can be roasted ahead, the spice paste made ahead... all in all this is why this dish makes a great lunch or dinner side. Enjoy it with rice, chapattis or any American main course. Coming up next more Seasonal Indian dishes and a surprise giveaway from the gang at CocoaPlanet Tasting Room and Modern French a Golden Ticket! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Make These Pickled Carrots Today, Enjoy Them Tomorrow...Plus, No Special Equipment Needed!

   It's starting to get to planting time here in Sonoma. We've already gotten the go ahead to put in the potatoes and we're now planning the rest of this years crop. Meanwhile, the TV pilot is all turned in, we're busily writing..and I'm working with the CocoaPlanet people on the Spring menu for their Modern French Cafe and Tasting Room.


   In looking for some tasty French-style nibbles to go on a charcuterie plate or accompany a sandwich, I stumbled across these quick and easy French Pickled Carrots. Now, I love pickles in almost any variety and will pickle nearly anything if you give me half a chance. I love to can, brine jam and jelly.  I also love being able to do this without dragging out all my equipment. And I also love the fact that these pickles are ready to eat the day after you make them...also a plus for those of us who are fans of instant gratification. Pickles that are quick, easy, and don't require a lot of extra tools or a hot water bath? Count me in. The recipe I used here is my tweak of a David Lebovitz recipe so short and sweet, you've got to make these for your Spring and Summer parties.

French Pickled Carrots

Here's What You Need:
1 lb of carrots. (I used rainbow Carrots because I figured they would look gorgeous in a bottle)
1/4 cup of caster sugar
1 and 1/4 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 large shallots lightly crushed
1 and 1/2 tsp fennel seed
3 radishes
1 bay leaf
1 and 1/2 Tbs kosher salt
Extra water for par boiling carrots.
1 pint jar and lid

Here's What To Do:
Peel the carrots.

Cut them into sticks that will fit into a pint jar.

Prep the rest of your ingredients. This helps get things done faster.
Peel the shallots and slice the radishes into thick pieces.

Get your fennel seeds ready.

Bring a medium sized pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Toss int he carrots and boil them for 1 minute.

After 1 minute pour everything in the pot through a strainer basket...

...and run cold water over the carrots to stop the cooking process.

Take the now empty pot and add in the water and cider vinegar...

...salt and sugar...

...fennel seeds, shallots,  and bay leaf.

Toss the uncooked radishes in with the cooling carrots and set them aside.

Bring everything in the pot to a boil again, and when it is boiling turn down the heat and let it simmer for about two minutes. When that's done set it aside.
Meanwhile pack the carrots, and radishes into a cooled and CLEAN pint jar.

Fish out the bay leaf and place it in the jar.
Pour the liquid over everything in the pint jar.

Put the lid on it and place the jar in the fridge when it's cooled a bit.
Let them sit for about 24 hours and then enjoy.
These will keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, but they probably won't last that long as they're really, really tasty.

So, there you go, French, quick and easy.
If you like pickles and want to try some Indian Style Pickled Carrots I got this. Once again, no special equipment unless you count the sun as special equipment.

And these Indian Pickled Peppers

So enjoy the spring sunshine and don't forget to Get Pickling!  Coming up next more fun with Spring Vegetables follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Red Pumpkin Is Not A Mid 80's Spy Movie, But It's Tasty, and Vegan.

   Stuff has been crazy mad around here lately between writing and cooking.  Most of what I've been cooking I've not been able to publish here yet because it's for the CocoaPlanet Modern French Cafe here in Sonoma, but I have managed to get back to some home focused Indian dishes...thus, the Red Pumpkin.
   Now, I happen to like pumpkin in any form but to be honest pumpkin isn't always available, and even when it is, all pumpkins are not created culinarilly equal.  I've learned this the hard way several times, and so when I cook "pumpkin" many times I reach for the trusty butternut squash. Every year I grow a LOT of butternut squash. I store it in a cold room in the garage and then finally cube, vacuum seal and freeze it for future use. I am never without butternut squash. So when looking at my vast array of squashes, I turned to one of  the Grande Dames of Indian cuisine the late great Tarla Dalal who has an amazing and very simple recipe for Maharashtiran  style red pumpkin.

   I have to admit, besides being able to use one of my favorite vegetables I love the name Red Pumpkin even if I don't actually have just reminds me of the cheesy Red Sonja movie from the 80s.

Which reminds me of the time I found myself seated on a couch at a producer's house party eating Mexican BBQ and talking to a perfectly normal sort of person who turned out to have been Red Sonja. Go figure. Seems like there was a lot of "Red" themed movies back then... Red Dawn, Red get the drift. What's that got to do with Pumpkin? Nothing... just background. So without further ado here's... red pumpkin/butternut squash easy, simple, totally vegan, and gluten free.

Maharashtiran  Style Red Pumpkin/Butternut Squash

Here's What You Need:
3 cups of cubed butternut squash
2 Tbs vegetable oil (I always use coconut oil)
6 curry leaves (if you don't have them just omit as there's no real substitute)
1/2 tsp brown mustard seed
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp chopped shallot
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Here's What To Do:
Get your spices together.

 Chop the shallot.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet or kadhai.

When the oil is hot add in the mustard, curry leaves, and cumin seeds.

When the mustard seeds start to pop and cumin seeds start to toast  (this happens fast so be prepared) add in the shallot.
Saute for about 30 seconds.

Add the squash cubes...

...turmeric, kashmiri chili powder, garam masala and salt.

Add in  1/2 cup of water.

Stir everything together well, and put a lid on things.

Let everything cook for about 12 minutes.

Check the vegetable every now and then to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.
When it's cooked through, serve it up garnished with the chopped cilantro.

All you need with this for a perfect lunch is some spiced Basmati rice and a roti or two and you are golden! All it takes is about 30 minutes from start to finish and that in my opinion makes it the perfect working weekday meal.

Coming up next...more vegetables of course and there always has to be something sweet. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori . Stay flipping!


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